We are three years into the Crostini project that brought Linux app support to Chrome OS. Unfortunately for users of devices like the Samsung Chromebook and ASUS Chromebook C302, Linux has eluded the 6th Gen Skylake processors from Intel. This was a bad situation all around given the fact that these Chromebooks were the cream of the crop at that point in time. As newer Kaby Lake Chromebooks came along, Skylake device owners were feeling rather put out as developers weren’t clear as to whether or not the 6th Gen chips would even get support for Linux. Time ticked by and before we knew it, 10th Gen Comet Lake devices became the standard for Chrome OS and it began to feel as if Skylake Chromebooks would simply be left out in the cold.
Don’t get me wrong. There were glimmers of hope here and there. At one point, a new flag emerged that would allow for “experimental kernels” on some devices but these trials were done on a limited basis. This resulted in a handful of users actually gaining access to Linux (Beta). However, after months passed, no sign of official support surfaced and most of us gave up hope and moved on. It was a sad state of affairs, for sure but new devices were dropping left and right while Skylake Chromebooks were inching closer and closer to end of life. That’s not to say that Google wasn’t making a concerted effort to get this working. It just felt like the effort was in vain.
The associated bug report for bringing the Linux container to Skylake is currently starred by 656 users which is a very large number in the realm of Chrome OS bug reports. Alas, there has been very limited activity on the bug report since it was opened back in December of 2018. According to Google’s Mike Frysinger, a.k.a. Vapier, this lack of activity wasn’t an indicator that the project had been abandoned but instead a sign that developers just wanted to make sure things were working properly as this port required some serious acrobatics.
there haven’t been updates for a while, but it’s not because it’s not being worked on. users in our limited rollout/testing on non-stable channels have identified regressions, and they’re being worked through. we don’t want to push things to stable until we’ve ironed those out and we stop seeing new reports.CR Bug comment
All this to say, the wait is finally over for those still clinging to an 6th Gen Chromebook and the hope for Linux app support. As of last Friday, the bug report has been updated to the “closed” status and a Googler has reported that the work is complete. Here is the final comment on the bug report.
All work to enable this has been completed. Thanks for everyone’s patience.CR Bug comment
While it is a great relief to see this finally come to fruition, it feels somewhat meaningless three years later. These Skylake devices were great Chromebooks in their prime but they will go end of life in June of 2023. That’s not to say they don’t still have some life in them but the aging Skylake CPUs have always felt like a swing and a miss. When you put them up against 10th or 11th Gen Chromebooks, they don’t stand a chance. Those using Skylake-powered Chromebooks have likely already noticed how slow their devices perform in comparison to new machines and adding Linux into the equation will only stand to bog them down even more. Users that were looking to seriously leverage Linux on Chrome OS have probably long ago moved on to a Comet Lake device to save themselves the headache and anxiety of waiting for something that may or may not have happened. Still, if you own a Samsung Chromebook Pro, ASUS Chromebook C302, or HP Chromebook 13 G1, your day has finally arrived and you should be able to install Linux apps on your device. Enjoy.